Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant and Jimmy Page will face a May 10 start to a trial in the copyright-infringement lawsuit against the band over “Stairway To Heaven.”
Reuters (via NBC News) reports the pair will face a U.S. jury trial over the one of the most popular songs in music history.
In a decision on Friday, U.S. District Judge Gary Klausner in Los Angeles said "Stairway" and the 1967 instrumental "Taurus" by the band Spirit were similar enough to let a jury decide whether Plant and Page were liable for copyright infringement.
"While it is true that a descending chromatic four-chord progression is a common convention that abounds in the music industry, the similarities here transcend this core structure," Klausner wrote. "What remains is a subjective assessment of the 'concept and feel' of two works ... a task no more suitable for a judge than for a jury."
Klausner dismissed claims against Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones and Warner Music Group Corp.
The lawsuit was brought by Michael Skidmore, a trustee for the late Randy Wolfe - also known as Randy California - who was Spirit's guitarist and the composer of "Taurus."
Judge Klausner also said the trustee can get only 50 percent of any damages awarded, citing a 1967 contract that Wolfe signed.
"This case, from our perspective, has always been about giving credit where credit was due,” said Skidmore’s lawyer Francis Malofiy, “and now we get to right that wrong."
“Stairway To Heaven” appeared on the UK band’s 1971 album, “Led Zeppelin IV.”
One of the best-selling albums in music history, the project went on to sell more than 37 million copies worldwide, including 23 million in the US alone.
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